Julaine Appling, Wisconsin’s most outspoken anti-gay bigot and the president of Wisconsin Family Action, an anti-LGBT, anti-choice, pro-“intelligent design” GOP front group, is very, veeeery upset about a drag show that’s coming to the Univeersity of Wisconsin-Fox Valley this Thursday.
In a breathless ACTION ALERT (!!) posted on the group’s website, readers are warned about a shocking “‘drag show'” (yes, scare quotes and all) featuring as its “‘main attraction'” (again, scare quotes are theirs, not mine) an appearance by “self-proclaimed male homosexual transvestite ‘Shangela’ from a lewd reality television show ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race‘ in which homosexual male drag performers compete for prizes.”
Be very afraid. It continues: “The tickets are cheap ($3), and so, it appears, is the propaganda, display of immorality, and overall message to the Fox Valley community.” (Seriously?!? Who wrote this, Anita Bryant?)
Then Appling sanctimoniously scolds:
Our University of Wisconsin System is placing the stamp of approval on homosexual propaganda and explicitly immoral content with an upcoming “drag show” event that sends the wrong message to our next generation of leaders, parents, and families. Taxpayers should beware, and quickly take action to defend our shared values. The Badger State’s standards for it’s families are much higher than this shameful display of sexual immorality on our campuses and in our local communities.
The release also includes contact information for the UW-Fox Valley Dean’s Office, presumably to encourage WFA supporters to flood the switchboard with outraged calls, and an UPDATE about a similar show (gasp!) that was presented at another UW school in January. It’s actually rather hilarious that WFA is just now catching wind of drag shows being held at UW campuses — at some campuses, they’re incredibly popular annual events.
At least one controversy-hungry local news affiliate, apparently hard-pressed for actual, umm, news, picked up the non-story. Reporter Chad Doran of WLUK-Fox 11, Green Bay’s self-proclaimed “balanced news” source, interviewed Appling and a poor, hapless UW-Fox Valley student who claimed drag shows are “contrary to her religion” and said she “would feel uncomfortable seeing it.” (Note to student: If you don’t want to see the drag show, don’t attend the drag show.)
There’s more than a little irony in Julaine Appling’s opposition to LGBT culture, LGBT people in general, and LGBT equality. To be sure, she’s a wretchedly spiteful person who, for all intents and purposes, represents the public face of homophobia in the state of Wisconsin. Appling is the architect of Wisconsin’s voter-approved 2006 constitutional marriage discrimination amendment. Her group even sued unsuccessfully to block the implementation of Wisconsin’s domestic partnership registry, which provides a very limited set of basic protections to same-sex couples in that state.
But for all her vitriol, Appling is also arguably the state’s leading (ahem) confirmed bachelorette — one whose living situation makes her eligible for a domestic partnership herself. Ms. Appling is over sixty years old and has never been married, but she doesn’t live alone. No, Julaine owns a house in south-central Wisconsin with a woman named Diane Westphall (left), another never-married woman who works with Appling at WFA and has been her companion for decades. No one knows the precise nature of their relationship and Appling claims she’s straight, but it’s an unconventional arrangement at the very least. The Wisconsin Gazette reports that when Westphall’s father died in 2007, Appling was listed as a survivor in his obituary, despite the fact that she’s not a legally-recognized member of that family. (How did they refer to her, I wonder? Diane’s “special friend?”)
It’s always the ones who are most outspoken that are the biggest hypocrites, amirite?
UPDATE: as noted in the Fox 11 article, approximately half of the tickets to the drag show have been sold so far. I think I’m going to see if I can purchase a few tickets and donate them to the UW-Fox Valley Gay-Straight Alliance as a way to show support and perhaps enable someone who otherwise wouldn’t have been able to see the show to attend. General admission tickets are only $3 in advance, and VIP tickets are $12.
Anyone else want to join me?